Editor Note: Early Entrants is a series of sports business “rumblings” before the news breaks.
Comcast Confident It’s In Best Position to Land Exclusive Carriage of NFL Sunday Ticket
Comcast executives are quietly confident that the company will be both the exclusive linear and digital provider of NFL Sunday Ticket come 2020. Sources tell JohnWallStreet that the belief is the company’s scale (think: cable, mobile, Xfinity and X1) will enable it to “service the property in one massive pipeline – which gives it an uninterrupted technical advantage over other bidders. Remember, the NFL has said that technical proficiency will be considered; that a digital carrier must have the infrastructure in place to host an NFL quality broadcast. That’s not a problem with Comcast. They already do streaming and they do it better than anyone else in the space.” Sunday Ticket happens to be the perfect asset for Comcast to leverage across seven or eight revenue streams within the building.
Klutch Sports Group Exploring Strategic Transaction
There are whispers circulating that Klutch Sports Group is exploring a sale and that Endeavor is interested in buying Rich Paul’s (and LeBron James’) sports agency. Rolling up Klutch would give Ari Emanuel’s company a sports management business to compete with CAA, but more importantly it would boost their pre-IPO earnings; remember, Paul negotiated contracts worth $469 million for James, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons over the last 12 months. There are tens of millions in commissions coming due.
As for Klutch, the plan was always to cash out before LeBron retired – they’re funds King James will need if he’s going to buy into an NBA franchise. There’s also a pre-existing relationship in place. Back in ’14, LeBron signed with WME to manage all of his entertainment and acting projects. It must be noted that United Talent Agency has also been rumored to have interest in beefing up their sports division with a Klutch alliance.
Next NFL Sunday Ticket Package to Include Live Game Broadcasts Shot in ‘All-22’
The NFL’s most undervalued media asset is its ‘All-22’ game feed – currently only available through NFL.com’s Game Pass days after the games have been completed. But sources tell JohnWallStreet that’s likely to change come 2020. We’re hearing that “Coaches’ Film” will be included within the next Sunday Ticket package as the league looks to add value to the offering and further grow the revenue pie. ‘All 22’ won’t attract the casual fan, but the NFL believes “it will be on the mobile phone of every sports bettor and DFS player looking for an edge, because it gives the hardcore customer access to something they haven’t had access to prior – something shot for coaching purposes.”
League of Legends Team Owners Frustrated with Lack of Revenue
Several North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) team owners are frustrated that after nearly two years, the esports league remains unable to generate meaningful revenues. In the short-term, much of the responsibility to grow the business falls on Riot Games’ shoulders, but the company has been without a head of commercial for more than a year now; until they add one, there’s little reason to believe team finances will change. One source suggested that even when a hire is made, it will be difficult for the company to increase media, sponsorship, merchandise and ticket sales. “The company is simply not structured for anything beyond their core competency – publishing games and operating a micro transaction marketplace.”
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